My father wore a suit to work, unusual attire in a cobblestoned neighborhood of second-generation immigrants. Most of the dads worked factory shifts in blue jumpsuits and carried metal lunch boxes on the front seat of their Fords or Chevys. My father always owned a car, a Pontiac, but chose to take the city bus to work in downtown Cleveland. It was less complicated and parking was an expense he could avoid. He didn’t mind the walk up Valley Road except on bitter winter days, when he had to brace himself against that west wind, hanging on to his fedora.
However, Saturday was his special work day. He would back the sedan out of our one-car garage, down the gravel driveway and around the back roads that gave him a different view of his journey. And, about one Saturday a month, he would take me with him. Mom would dress me in my finest and I would settle snugly in the front seat, legs dangling, clutching my little navy purse. My pigtails were perfect that day, smooth and shiny with bows that matched my dress. My eyes always widened as we approached “downtown” – that magical maze of dark windowed buildings surrounding Public Square and Higbee’s department store.